Your Guide To Jazz In Miami

Jazz at The Betsy

Live Jazz at The Betsy

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By: Shayne Benowitz

From speak-easy style jazz bars to annual festivals, this is your guide to jazz in Miami

Jazz music is improvisational by nature and finding a venue where live jazz is performed regularly can be elusive. Let us help you plan a foolproof night out in Miami with great live music, whether you head to a speakeasy-style bar, an Art Deco hotel lobby or one of the city’s annual jazz festivals.

Best Venues

The Corner

Tuesday nights at The Corner in downtown Miami mean live jazz. Swing into this cozy New Orleans-style bar and order a classic, expertly mixed cocktail like the Sazerac. It’s beloved amongst Miami’s hip locals, so plan to make friends. They also serve a small food menu in case you get hungry.

Lagniappe House

The beauty of Lagniappe, a New Orleans-style wine bar, is that there’s live music every night starting at 9 p.m. and it usually skews towards jazz. Their house band, The French Horn Collective, specializes in original gypsy jazz, swing and world music with a modern French flare. This bar boasts a large back patio with a barbecue grill and delightful cheese and charcuterie plates.

The National Hotel

Head to the National Hotel’s Blues Bar Wednesday through Sunday night for live jazz starting at 8:30 p.m. The classic Art Deco lobby will transport you back to another era as you enjoy craft cocktails and tapas amidst the music.

The Betsy Hotel

Devoted to arts and culture, The Betsy Hotel is one of the most reliable venues in South Beach for live jazz music. Depending on the day of the week, you can enjoy live jazz performances in the hotel lobby or while dining at LT Steak & Seafood.

Pinecrest Gardens

Check out the events calendar at Pinecrest Gardens for regular jazz concerts held in their lush outdoor environs. Whether it’s a concert by Grammy Award nominated jazz band, Spyro Gyra, or a community event showcasing young local musicians, it’s always a magical Miami venue to enjoy live music.

Annual Jazz Festivals

South Beach Jazz Festival – January

Kick off the New Year with the South Beach Jazz Festival in January, showcasing a variety of jazz stylings including classical, Latin and New Orleans. Come out to venues like Colony Theatre, 1111 Lincoln Road and the main stage on Lincoln Road and Euclid Avenue for acts like three-time Grammy Award winner Branford Marsalis, Ignacio Berroa, Tal Cohen, Carlos Puig and more. The festival is dedicated to disability awareness, with most acts consisting of at least one disabled artist.

Jazz in the Gardens – March

Every March, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens hosts Jazz in the Gardens Music Fest for a long weekend. A spring mainstay for over a decade, the festival highlights both local and international musicians including the likes of Chaka Khan, Anita Baker, Smokey Robinson and Fantasia. The festival also boasts a marketplace dedicated to artwork, jewelry and fashion, as well as delicious Caribbean food.

Jazz Appreciation Month - April

April is arguably the best month to enjoy jazz in Miami as the city celebrates “Jazz Appreciation Month.” On April 7, 2018, the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center hosted the daylong Sanfoka Jazz Festival in Liberty City. The festival’s headliner was Grammy nominated, rising star vocalist, drummer and composer Jamison Ross who also won the 2012 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Drums Competition. Along with other jazz acts, the festival also celebrated visual arts with an exhibition presented by Amaldozi Gallery. The festival was a free event.

On April 14, 2018, fans came out to the Julius Littman Performing Arts Theater in North Beach to hear jazz trumpeter, Shareef Clayton, for a Jazz Appreciation Month free concert. The Grammy nominated artist has performed with the likes of Stevie Wonder and the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Miami International Jazz Festival

A collaboration between the City of Miami and the Department of Cultural Affairs, Miami International Jazz Festival brings jazz to the masses every April. With artists like O Som Do Jazz, Linda Briceno and Luis Bonfil, performances take place at venues like Ocho Live Bar & Lounge, Wartheim Auditorium and the Miami Dade College campus.

Miami Downtown Jazz Festival

Taking place at the Olympia Theater and Bayfront Park Amphitheater, April 26-28, 2018, the Miami Downtown Jazz Festival presents a cornucopia of musical styles from Latin jazz to blues, funk and even a touch of steel pan. The three days of live music include performances by Arturo Sandoval, Regina Carter and the legendary Tito Puente, Jr.

Sunny Isles Beach Jazz Fest – November

Also celebrating over a decade of entertainment, Sunny Isles Beach Jazz Fest takes place over a single night under the stars at Gateway Park. Past performers include The Spinners and Cornell Gunter’s Coasters featuring Edwin Cooke and Lourdes Valentin. It’s a highly anticipated celebration for true lovers of jazz music.

Jazz at MOCA

If you’re a jazz enthusiast, be sure to take advantage of free outdoor concerts (rain or shine) held the last Friday of every month at 8 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami.

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